Split abdominal wall muscle flap repair vs patch repair of large congenital diaphragmatic hernias

J Pediatr Surg. 2012 Jan;47(1):81-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2011.10.023.


Purpose: Large congenital diaphragmatic hernias are commonly repaired with a prosthetic patch. We hypothesized that a split abdominal wall muscle flap would reduce the risk of recurrence.

Methods: A retrospective review of neonates with congenital diaphragmatic hernia in whom primary repair was not possible was performed. Kaplan-Meier analyses and Cox proportional hazards modeling were performed.

Results: Of 153 patients, 46 could not have repair with primary closure of the diaphragm. Thirty-three survived to discharge and were subjected to analysis for recurrence. Ten underwent repair with a patch, whereas 23 had a muscle flap (internal oblique and transversalis) patch. The groups were similar with regard to demographics, need for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, repair on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, and size of the defect. Fifty percent of patch repairs recurred with a median time of 0.5 years. Only one (4.3%) of the patients who had muscle flap patch developed a recurrence. This was significant on Kaplan-Meier analysis (P = .0009) and had a hazard ratio of 14.3 on Cox regression (P = .018). Median follow-up exceeded 4 years. No children required surgery for an abdominal wall hernia.

Conclusions: The split abdominal wall muscle flap allows for closure of large congenital diaphragmatic hernia defects with autologous tissue. This approach is associated with significantly fewer recurrences than patch repairs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Muscles / transplantation
  • Female
  • Hernia, Diaphragmatic / pathology
  • Hernia, Diaphragmatic / surgery
  • Hernias, Diaphragmatic, Congenital*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgical Flaps*
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / methods